September 17, 2015

My day was off to a good start but ground to a halt quickly upon the arrival of my advance copy of John Besh's new cookbook, Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes. At first glance, it's true to its title; most recipes are short and utilize ingredients readily available at a well-stocked supermarket. Instructions are clear and concise, and many pages include a bit of trivia, an anecdote, or a tip, such as the Secrets of Roux you'll find under the Tip of the Week in the right-hand column of this newsletter. This book will be welcomed by the novice cook, the person just dipping their toes into the flavors of Louisiana, and anyone else who enjoys a good home-cooked meal. It ships September 29. Envy me.

Yesterday, Southeastern grocery chain Winn Dixie kicked off Cooking with Curtis, a program aimed at making the answer to "What's for dinner?" a little easier, and a bit more affordable. Each month, Food Network celebrity chef Curtis Stone will create meals featuring a product that is fresh and in season; the recipes will be easy, and the total cost will be under $10 for a family of four. Who doesn't want affordable, fresh, from-scratch home-cooked meals? Sister grocery stores Bi-Lo and Harvey's Supermarkets will also be participating in the program.

My friend Gaye Hamilton took the photo of me above after we'd finished judging Soirée Royale in Opelousas earlier this week. I learned the hard way a long time ago to taste and set aside; I should have warned her, but she was enjoying those first ten or so judge-portions so much I didn't have the heart to tell her to not clean each plate. She was miserably full by the last round, but happily so. Congratulations to Chef Amanda Johnson of Coushatta Casino Resort for Best of Show with her Peanut Butter & Jelly Cheesecake, and to Chef Tonia Dupree of White Tails Bar & Grill for People's Choice with her Seafood Stuffed Shells topped with Creole Mozarella Sauce.

See our list of what's happening around Louisiana below and find something to do this weekend, even if it's just staying cool. Whatever you decide, enjoy the recipes this week, share them with family and friends, and, as always,let me know what's on your mind.

Susan Ford

Susan Ford, Publisher

Louisiana Kitchen & Culture

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Mama's Seafood Gumbo

Mama's Seafood Gumbo

From Chef John Besh's new cookbook, Besh Big Easy, this is his version of the seafood gumbo he grew up eating out of his mother's and grandmother's kitchens. One of his tricks for getting great seafood flavor is to quarter 6 crabs and simmer them for a full 45 minutes in the gumbo before adding the sausage and remaining seafood.

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Fried Green Tomato BLT

Fried Green Tomato BLT

Featured this month in the Cooking with Curtis program, this is a twist on the classic BLT. The "T" portion is green and fried, and the mayo is dressed up with roasted red peppers, dill pickles, and a few other fun ingredients. Ready in a few minutes, for under $10 for a family of four.

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Fresh Basil Pesto

Fresh Basil Pesto

This is a versatile recipe- toss a bit with hot cooked pasta, spread it on a sandwich in place of mayo, make bruschetta, cut a slit in a chicken breast and add a spoonful along with a piece of Asiago cheese. It's also great on fish. Even better, get some of those little 4-ounce Ball jars, fill with pesto and top with olive oil, and freeze. You'll have a taste of summer in the depths of winter.

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        To Add or Correct an Event email: Jim

Sep 18, 2015 to Sep 19, 2015

St. Martinville: Pepper Festival

Sep 18, 2015 to Sep 20, 2015

Sep 19, 2015

Alexandria: Le Tour de Bayou
Breaux Bridge: Jambalaya Cookoff
Grand Coteau: Exit 11 Yard Sale

Sep 19, 2015 to Sep 20, 2015

Sep 23, 2015 to Sep 26, 2015

Sep 23, 2015 to Sep 27, 2015

Sep 24, 2015

Sep 24, 2015 to Sep 27, 2015

Sep 24, 2015 to Oct 4, 2015

Sep 25, 2015 to Sep 27, 2015

Sep 25, 2015 to Sep 26, 2015

Sep 25, 2015

Covington: Wings and Wine

Sep 26, 2015 to Sep 27, 2015

Sep 26, 2015

St. Francisville: Louisiana Vets Festival

Sep 27, 2015

Baton Rouge: Festival Latino

View entire event list here (search by name, city)

Louisiana Recipes Newsletter Archive (search past newsletters)

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